Tampa company testing cancer vaccine

A Tampa company says it is testing a vaccine for cancer.

The vaccine does not prevent cancer. Instead, it explores a new way to help the body fight cancer cells.

Scientists at Morphogenesis, Inc. call the "therapeutic vaccine" a simple and safe technology that could help people who already have cancer fight it off.

Six patients with stage three and stage four melanoma started the trial in November 2018. Morphogenesis, Inc., is working with specialists at Moffitt Cancer Center to give them an injection right into their skin lesions.

Ashraf Dehlawi, the regulatory affairs director at Morphogenesis, Inc. said the vaccine essentially introduces a gene into the patients' cancer cells, changing them into a cell the body can fight with its own immune system.

While the first trial run could last up to two years, they hope to help more people.

"Some of our long-term clinical development goals will be to get into some other types of cancer that might not be superficial on the skin, but that's going to be coming down the road," said Dehlawi.

Morphogenesis, Inc., hopes to expand the clinical trial to 160 patients across the country.

The therapeutic vaccine still has years to go before becoming mainstream.